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Hi. All my current writing is over at Audacious Fox, and I'd love to show you around. Thanks for reading.

Two thoughts and an idea for Work in Progress

I’ve been watching a lot of Work in Progress (WIP), an informal video series about product design by Jason Fried, of Basecamp, and Nate Kontny, of Highrise. It’s been a lot of fun, and I encourage you to check out their YouTube channel.

In Show #16, both Jason and Nate started chatting about ways they could increase viewership. Ideas ranged from email blasts to putting the audio version of WIP on iTunes. Since the show is still young, and I’ve watched almost every episode, I thought it might help if I wrote up a my thoughts on how it’s going so far.

Jason and Nate,

I love the informal setting, and I think the laid-back nature keeps the format fun and, more importantly, inviting to someone who’s either a.) new to product design, or b.) new to the both of you. You’ve created a great atmosphere. By keeping things somewhat unstructured, you’re also letting the audience take a peek at how cadence and honesty are two huge pieces of any discussion about design.

Regarding the length of each show, I think a half-hour is the sweet-spot for these types of discussions. There’s no shortage of podcasts that run for well over an hour, so having a show that is conscientious of my time is nice. I feel that 30 minutes is low time commitment for the hosts, yet still allows for plenty of tangental mini-conversations throughout the episode. I think you could experiment with even shorter, single topic shows, but I’d be afraid that too short a length would introduce an unwelcome sense of rush.

Finally, an idea:

Something fun to try would be working through a design or page with the audience. Consider doing a small design riff on something that you are currently working on or have already done. Jason has talked about sharing some of the screens from Basecamp 3 in a month or so, but I think there’s potential in working through old product designs, even if they’re mockups that ended up getting scrapped.

Having the actual pixels in front of you and us might spark memories and offer visible evidence of the more subtle details a design embodies; details that tend to get forgotten when only looking at the end result.

Thanks for doing WIP, and I hope to see many more!


Wednesday, 16 September 2015